New ‘Fargo’ set in ‘Bemidji’

Paul_Bunyan_and_Babe_statues_Bemidji_Minnesota_fullThe new FX series based on the 1996 Joel and Ethan Coen classic film “Fargo” will be set in Bemidji, not Brainerd. This according to Crystal Dey in the Bemidji Pioneer.

“Breaking Bad’s” Bob Odenkirk has been cast as Bill Olson, a Bemidji sheriff’s deputy. Allison Tolman will be playing Molly Solverson, a deputy serving under Olson.

While the backdrop location of the storyline has not been revealed, Oliver Platt will be playing Stavros Milos, the Supermarket King of Minnesota. Shooting begins in Calgary, Canada, later this month.

Beltrami County Sheriff Phil Hodapp said the series is news to him. FX has not yet reached out to the sheriff’s office for consultation. Hodapp doesn’t think Brainerd was contacted prior to the 1996 movie and he doesn’t anticipate any calls.

“It’s all Hollywood,” Hodapp said. “It’ll be interesting to see how they do it.”

Hodapp saw the original “Fargo” movie. In his opinion, they portrayed Minnesotans as silly, dumb Norwegians. He said he doesn’t want to speculate on the Coens’ new project.

The 10-episode limited series follows different characters and cases than the first movie. The Coens have come back to serve as executive producers along with Warren Littlefield and Geyer Kosinski. Adam Bernstein will direct the premiere episode. The 2003 version was directed by Kathy Bates.

Additional cast members include: Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman, Collin Hanks, Kate Walsh, Joey King, Josh Close, Glenn Howerton, Peter Breitmayer, Tom Musgrave, Russell Harvard and Adam Goldberg.

Hodapp’s opinion of “Fargo” is one shared by many people I know, particularly those who are literal-minded (not a bad thing; just a thing). Do people in Minnesota talk like they do in “Fargo?” Sorta, but not always. The point of the movie was not to portray Minnesotans accurately, so much as to tell a story about deception and innocence lost. To that end, it remains a great movie.

This show? Who knows, but my the talent they have assembled. Could be good. I highly doubt, however, that it will appease those who didn’t like the original movie’s portrayal of Minnesotans.


  1. Ah, maybe they didn’t consult the Sheriff, but they did consult the city. The company contacted VisitBemidji and the city to ask permission to recreate our Paul and Babe statues for the series. I think this confirms that Bemidji is the real home of the famous pair. 🙂

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